A light armoured vehicle (LAV) III replica will be relocating to Airdrie’s Nosecreek Valley Museum later this year, as one of four such military vehicles to come to Alberta as part of a national program to honour Canadian veterans of the Afghanistan war.
The Airdrie Legion is spearheading the move by raising more than $40,000 to refurbish and transport the LAV III–hopefully by Remembrance Day 2016. Airdrie is located about 45 kilometres north of Calgary.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are planning the fundraising drive right now,” said Bob McNivan of the Airdrie LAV III committee.
Canadian Afghanistan veterans may recognize the LAV–the same model that moved them around the war zone at speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour.
“It was your home. It transports your food, your ammunition and your supplies,” Calgary veteran and current Canadian Forces Captain Mike Ter Kuile said.
“It’s your ambulance when you get into trouble and get hurt; it’s everything to you in the field.”
Ter Kuile is a former Calgary police sergeant who served in Afghanistan in 2009, and fondly remembers riding around in a LAV III during his tour of duty overseas.
Canada Company, a charitable group that supports the Canadian Forces, unveiled the LAV III Monument program in November 2014, announcing up to 250 replica LAVs would be put in communities across the country. The program aims to recognize the service of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, and is the first update to Canadian military monuments in more than 50 years.
The previous federal Conservative government, which had been accused of ignoring the often traumatized Afghan veterans as they returned home, supported the initiative morally, but not financially. Instead of cash, it shared designs for the replica LAVs and helped to arrange locations for the monuments.
At the time, Canada Company suggested the cost of each monument will range from $5,000 to $20,000 to the community “depending on the location.”
A spokesperson said at the time the company expects private civilian donations and sponsorships will fund each LAV III Monument manufacture, transport from London, Ont. and miscellaneous costs (such as the concrete pad to place it on), in an email to Global News. The community will also be responsible for maintenance and “use of the memorial in education programs.”
“A community LAV III Monument might be sponsored by an armoury, a reserve infantry regiment, etc.,” wrote Donna Mills in a past email to Global News.
A community can apply to receive a monument through an online application form.
With files from Global’s Erika Tucker